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Life Lessons From Filipino Millennials Living Abroad

Life Lessons From Filipino Millennials Living Abroad

Millennials are monsters! They are unpolished and have no sense of human empathy. They build their worlds in social media and make a perfect image of their lives. And according to TIME Magazine, millennials are “lazy, entitled, narcissists who still live with their parents.”.

In a TEDx talk by Kelly Williams Brown, she said “it is almost enough to make people feel that hand ringing trend pieces of the young people are less of a valid cultural or sociological critique and more of an easy trend piece that moves magazine covers.”

Millennials Living Abroad

Screengrab from Kelly Williams Brown’s TED x presentation

It is true that when you Google millennials and look for pieces that talk about this generation, the word “entitled” will always come up. But why do we hate millennials so much?

As an ethnicity that spends an average of 53 hours online every week, there is no doubt that Filipinos are digital natives who grow along today’s ever evolving technology and a big chunk of this population are the ones who were born from 1980 to 2000, or what we always like to put in our headlines: MILLENNIALS. They may be entitled members of the society but they are empowered and driven, they are part of the generation that brands try to persuade and the politicians try to win over.

Whatever is “wrong” with this generation there are also things that are “right”, and certainly insights that we can all learn from.  Here are some life lessons we’ve learned from Filipino millennials living abroad.

 

Vanessa Tiu

Account Manager – Singapore

Life Lessons From Filipino Millennials Living Abroad

I’ve learned that stereotypes are just that… stereotypes. This race, that race – it’s stupid. When it comes to people who share the same passion, you’ll realize that everyone else is exactly the same as you.

How long have you been staying there?

Almost 3 years.

What’s life like there?

It’s a small country – you can almost always find someone you know. So in a sense, it still feels like you’re in Quezon City, but you can’t drive back home. Which, when I think about it, is kind of sad.

Are you working/studying? Tell us about it.

I’m working as an Account Manager in a multinational advertising agency. Singapore is a global hub. I’ve met and worked with people who I’ve never thought I’ll even meet had I not worked outside my homeland. I must admit, it’s exciting and invigorating to be able to meet and work with people from all over.

Also, most importantly, commuting here is the best – nowhere near queuing at the Ayala MRT station.

What is the biggest life lesson you’ve learned living abroad away from your friends and family?

I’ve learned that stereotypes are just that… stereotypes. This race, that race – it’s stupid. When it comes to people who share the same passion, you’ll realize that everyone else is exactly the same as you.

Another thing – Family is family. No one will ever compare. This is something that I’ve known all along… But living in a place where you’re constantly in search of that familiar feeling of love and belonging, I think this is something to highlight. Nothing will ever replace family.

Why did you consider to try out life outside the Philippines?

I wanted to be able to experience more, sooner.

 

Paolo Gabriel Benitez

Student – UAE

Life Lessons From Filipino Millennials Living Abroad

Ironically in a place like this, people still judge each other really quickly. It’s best to be open minded. Cast your differences with people aside because “difference” is all around you.

Which city/country are you based right now?

I’m currently based in Dubai, UAE.

How long have you been staying there?

I’ve been living here practically all of my live, 20 years to be exact.

What’s life like there?

Life’s pretty fast paced for the young and ambitious. We’re living in the center of “now” and opportunities present themselves left right and center.

Are you working/studying? Tell us about it.

Currently studying in AUD (american university in Dubai). I’m taking a Bachelors in Fine Arts and Visual Communication, majoring in digital media. It’s one of those majors that focuses on using various media forms, from video to sound, from web design to new age interactive media. Great degree for the creative as it gives you a versatile skill set for many media platforms, and it allows you to take expression to the next level (if executed properly).

What is the biggest life lesson you’ve learned living abroad away from your friends and family?

You learn many things in a place like Dubai, I can’t name them all but they ultimately lead to being more open minded. The various aspects of cultures here that you experience are widely different from that in the Philippines. Sure, we all share similar family values and notions of common courtesy around the world, but how we go about it in Dubai sets the difference. You’re not in the Philippines anymore, what you do back in the province might offend someone here for all you know. This center of diversity also gave me a lot of insight into different religions (not just Islam, but Hinduism, Orthodox Christianity and even people of the Druze variety) and cultural practices (different ways of showing modesty, hospitality and work ethics). I’ve met people from different walks of life. I know people who have fled their home countries, I’ve seen former refugees, I know young and successful entrepreneurs, I’ve come face to face with royals and diplomats, and I know many more people who are still trying to make it out there. Ironically in a place like this, people still judge each other really quickly. It’s best to be open minded. Cast your differences with people aside because “difference” is all around you.

Why did you consider to try out life outside the Philippines?

I have lived here all my life so I really can’t tell. But if I could speak on behalf of my family: Dubai is a more progressive city compared to a lot of other places. People like us could find more opportunity here than back home (sadly). Life is more different and adventurous once you’ve only known home for so long too. There’s also a more progressive audience here, with various niches. For someone trying to immerse himself within modern art, expression and passion, Dubai really isn’t so bad as people from all over the world come to exchange (you just have to sniff out all the events and underground movements that you want to be associated with).

 

Sandra Pineda

Student – United Kingdom

Life Lessons From Filipino Millennials Living Abroad

I’m all alone here, and have no family. It gets depressing sometimes, but I always tell myself, “Huy, you’ve come so far. Don’t quit now.” It’s so cliche, but it’s true! Akala ko masipag na ako sa Manila, pero iba yung drive ko to succeed dito.

How long have you been staying there?

9 months.

What’s life like there?

I love living in Oxford, because I’ve met the most interesting bunch of people here. The energy is different, because almost everyone you meet is a student. And since it’s a smaller city compared to busy London, you’re bound to bump into someone when you’re going grocery shopping in the city center. If you feel uninspired, stuck, or stressed, you take a walk, because this city is so full of beautiful parks and the architecture is stunning. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten used to how beautiful this place is. Most days I sit on a bench and watch people. Is that creepy? I mean it could be. But it’s also very fun.

Are you working/studying? Tell us about it.

I am taking my MA in Digital Publishing in Oxford Brookes University, which is one of the best publishing schools in the United Kingdom. The course itself is very practical, because our lecturers are publishers themselves. Before studying here, I was working for Cosmo.ph, so what I knew of publishing was limited to magazines and websites. The course gave me such a broad view of how the industry works on a global level, which was something I wanted to study in the first place. But more than the course itself, I like that the school is well-connected, and I was able to land jobs and internships, because of that. Right now, I am an academic marketing intern at Bloomsbury London. It’s an internship close to my heart, because that was the same publisher who published all the Harry Potter books, and I grew up reading those. So this job really means a lot to me.

What is the biggest life lesson you’ve learned living abroad away from your friends and family?

People think that leaving home and studying abroad is glamorous, but it takes a certain level of commitment to get here. I think people assume that I only study, but people forget that studying is expensive. Oxford is also one of the most expensive cities in the world to live in. I work two paying jobs, plus I have a London-based internship. So talagang raket ako dito! I go home some days, and ask myself why I do this to myself. Kasi ibang klaseng pagod eh. I’m all alone here, and have no family. It gets depressing sometimes, but I always tell myself, “Huy, you’ve come so far. Don’t quit now.” It’s so cliche, but it’s true! Akala ko masipag na ako sa Manila, pero iba yung drive ko to succeed dito.

 

Kier Pascual

Social Media Executive – UAE

Life Lessons From Filipino Millennials Living Abroad

I realised that I should stop lingering on that fear [fear of missing out] cause we are all adults now and we will always be friends regardless of how far we are. That I should focus more  on me, my goals, meeting other people and new best friends and hopefully travel the world.

Which city/country are you based right now? 

Abu Dhabi, UAE

How long have you been staying there?

6 years

How life like there?

It’s a continuous joyride! There were a few challenges and bumps along the way but I’m always so excited to wake up and work during the weekdays and hang out with my favourite people while travelling around the city and explore new things during the weekends.

Are you working/studying? Tell me about it.

I’m a Social Media Specialist. It’s super fun, I never get bored ‘cause there’s always something new to share and do everyday.

What is the biggest life lesson you’ve learned living abroad away from your friends and family?

Probably the biggest lesson I’ve learned this year is to let go of the fear of missing out. My family lives here and I’m super happy with that but my closest friends are all in the Philippines. Most of them are now married and building a new life with their families. I missed a lot of weddings, christenings, reunions and parties which used to make me feel sad and incomplete because like everyone else I wanted to be there.

But I realised that I should stop lingering on that fear cause we are all adults now and we will always be friends regardless of how far we are. That I should focus more  on me, my goals, meeting other people and new best friends and hopefully travel the world.

Why did you consider to try out life outside the Philippines?

I left the Philippines making sure that there’s no other reason for me to stay. I’m not gonna lie it was extremely hard, but my instincts tells me that I need to go and it’s possibly one if not the best decision I’ve made in my adult life. I look back and realised that staying in the Philippines is my comfort zone and if I would have stayed I would probably be the same person I was 6 years ago so I’m glad I challenged myself into moving here in UAE. I’m very thankful that I found a career that I love and I look forward doing more in the future.

 

Dean Demetria

Web Designer & Developer – Norway

Life Lessons From Filipino Millennials Living Abroad

One thing that really stuck to me though was that, “your life is not a telenovela.” It’s not particularly relatable, and could be quite cheesy, but it did help me out, especially at that time when I was broke and hopeless.

Which city/country are you based right now?

I’m currently living in Oslo, Norway. If you are a person who loves calm tones and fantastic mountains ranges, this is probably a place you would want to check out.

How long have you been staying there?

I moved here in early 2012, so about more than 5 years now.

How’s life like there?

It’s quite interesting with regards to the culture. A lot of people are very focused on fitness and even a bigger chunk of the population is insatiably connected with nature. I mean, most of the Norwegians I know dream of having a great forest as their backyard, pretty much an equivalent of how most Filipinos want to have a beach as theirs. One thing to getting used to is the ever changing weather. Could be snowing in the morning, completely sunny at lunch, windy on the way home, then rainy in the evening; It gets crazy, but it’s one of Norway’s charms.

Are you working/studying? Tell us about it.

I’m currently working as a web designer and a frontend developer in the finance sector. In some cases, I’m what you might call a unicorn developer (you could look this up). Just to be clear, this term was coined for people who could both design and code websites. My competencies span from user experience testing and user interface design to coding in HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

What is the biggest life lesson you’ve learned living abroad away from your friends and family?

When I was in a Norwegian language course held by the Philippine Embassy, one of the instructors was giving us general advice on how to make it in Norway, like learning how to get out of our comfort zones and learn the how to better integrate in the society. One thing that really stuck to me though was that, “your life is not a telenovela.” It’s not particularly relatable, and could be quite cheesy, but it did help me out, especially at that time when I was broke and hopeless.

From then on, I have started to become proactive. I’ve learned the language, made and valued mistakes, had new and amazing friends, started going to the gym, and ultimately, started a life. Of course, this I can’t credit to just that advice, but sometimes, all it takes is a little nudge or a slap in the face.

Why did you consider to try out life outside the Philippines?

I usually say that it’s because I wanted to see snow. That’s partly the reason for it, but simply it’s because I just really wanted to try something new. Before I moved, I was very dependent of my parents and, quite frankly, that did not sit well with me. When the opportunity arose where I was invited by my uncle and aunt to try it out here, I didn’t think twice.

 

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ALWEE VILLAROSA

Savage PR savant. Social Media guy. Bangkok advocate. Hoarder of 3AM songs that are too cool for anyone. Strongest proponent of the #WastedYouth campaign on Instagram. AlweeVillarosa could be your typical, garden variety switched-on millennial Internaut, except that he’s infinitely more. He is also a cunning marketing strategist, a burgeoning writer, and an account manager and leader with an unshakeable sense of integrity and work ethic that belies his young age. See more of his POV at his IG: @alweevillarosa

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Author: IllustradoAV

From the Middle East to the rest of the world, IllustradoLife shares the stories of Filipinos expats from around the world, providing a global venue championing the world class Filipino. IllustradoLife features articles on fashion and beauty, travel, lifestyle, business, events and other topics of interest to the international Filipino community from its mother publication, Illustrado Magazine.

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